Letters to the Editor: Even More Left Behind?

Donald W. Rogers, January 2008

Editor's Note: Perspectives on History welcomes letters to the editor on issues discussed in its pages or which are relevant to the profession. Letters should ideally be brief and should be sent to Letters to the Editor (or mailed to Letters to the Editor, Perspectives on History, AHA, 400 A Street SE, Washington, DC 20003-3889) along with full contact information. Letters selected for publication may be edited for style, length, and content. Publication of letters does not signify endorsement by the AHA of the views expressed by the authors, who alone are responsible for ensuring accuracy of the letters' contents. Institutional affiliations are provided only for identification purposes.

To the Editor:

Robert Townsend’s latest report "Left Behind? Historians Lag in 2006–07 Salary Report" in the November 2007 Perspectives demands careful scrutiny, but Townsend and the AHA ought to start factoring in another issue—that is, the comparative salary level of part-time faculty. As various sources indicate, part-timers are approaching 50 percent of the percentage of higher education faculty nationwide. (An AAUP report puts part-time instructors at 38 percent of historians.) Part-timers, thus, are no longer just "adjunct," but a permanent part of the historical profession. Excluding them wrongly ignores growing ranks of fellow historians. We should be aware of how part-time employment is restructuring historical compensation, and where it leaves part-time historical faculty. Surely, that will make Townsend’s salary report even more sobering.

—Donald W. Rogers
Adjunct Lecturer, Central Connecticut State University and Housatonic Community College